Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Beckett is Back from DL to Pitch Tonight - Dealing with Torn Labrum

Josh Beckett is either a warrior of the godly class, or a reckless fool who is risking a future Baseball career.

As you may know, Josh Beckett was placed on the Disabled List in early July for what had been described as a left hip impingement.  As Mark Saxon at ESPNLosAngeles.com mentioned at the time:
Beckett, 34, has been dealing with intermittent pain in the hip for a couple of weeks, and he felt a twinge while running the bases Sunday in Colorado, leaving the game after pitching five scoreless innings.
Well, Beckett has just been called back up to start tonight's game against Pittsburgh.  At the same time, we are learning more about his current condition, via Evan Petzold at Sports Injury Alert:
Beckett has been dealing with a torn labrum and two cysts in one of his hips. He has recovered from his injury and will start on Tuesday against the Pirates. Beckett believes he will be fine, the injections are helping but we do not know how long that can last until it becomes overwhelming.
Holy Batman, Robin!  So, he's going to tough it out and pitch tonight?  That's a little crazy if you ask me.  I get that his hip is feeling much better, but how long should we expect that to last?  And, at what point does the health and well being of a player trump the teams desire to win.  I get that it's likely Beckett who is going all out to continue to contribute, but at some point a more rational head needs to step in.  A torn anything can't possibly portend to anything but bad news for the immediate future; both on the field and to his quality of life after the game.

The corollary move to Beckett's recall is to send left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez back down to Albuquerque.  Paco pitched well during his most recent stint with the team.  He had back-to-back scoreless appearances on Friday and Saturday.

Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014

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Blog Kiosk: 7/22/2014 - Dodger Links - Cardinals are Reckelss and Careless, Is AGon Heating Up?

Hyun-Jin Ryu fans were in force in Pittsburgh last night.  They came out with signs and cheers.  Check out the pic above featuring some of them, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.  Ryu pitched 7 strong innings in the Dodger 5 to 2 win over the PIrates.  He struck out 5 and walked only 1 batter.

Of special note, Adrian Gonzalez looks to be heating up.  Since the teams return from the All-Star break he has gotten a hit in every game, and last night he recorded 3 hits (including a couple of doubles).  He has career low numbers so far this season, but I do not believe that will last.  He's just too good a hitter.  I wouldn't be surprised to see him go on a tear and watch his stats move closer to the mean.
“One thing is pitching inside and another thing is pitching inside carelessly. They’re obviously showing that they don’t care if they hit him. They’re not on purpose, but they don’t care if they hit him. They hit Hanley last year, they hit [Yasiel] Puig yesterday, they hit Hanley twice today. It’s almost like, ‘Hey, we’re going to throw it inside. If we hit you, we hit you. If we don’t, we don’t.’
  • JP Hoornstra at Inside the Dodgers cogently explains why the team is received additional x-rays of Puig and Hanley.  Thanks, JP.  That was very helpful.  BTW, Bill Plunkett at the OC Register lets us know that both of those follow-up x-rays in Pittsburgh also ended up being negative.
  • Here's an early peak at the Dodger lunch box they are giving away to kids on Sunday, August 17th on the right.
  • Via Sax at the Sons of Steve Garvey, "Three Dodgers in Keith Law's Top 50 MLB Prospects."
  • Think Purple Drank puts together a fun list of five ballplayers he would purposefully hit on the buttocks.  I'd like to include Reggie Jackson, even though he's an old man.  He can take it though.  Have you seen him lately?  He still look really fit, so it wouldn't hurt him.  It's just that I still hate him for his interference play and three-home runs in the playoffs... Damn you! (as I shake my fist in the air).
  • If I were to put on my unbiased observer hat on, I would say that this is a savvy move by the Giants.  Via Ken Rosenthal on twitter, the Giants have picked up Dan Uggla off of waivers.  Uggla has had several recent terrible seasons, but has shown in the past the ability to get on base and record high slugging percentages - translating into a high OPS.  Also, it's just a minor league deal, so it's cheap and they get to see if he has anything left.  IN other words, he's a low risk, high potential reward pick up.
  • Apparently, the Dodgers have signed another youngster.  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers reportedly sign Keivert Ruiz for $140,000."  The kid ia 16-years old and a catcher.  According to Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest they also signed first baseman Eric Meza from Mexico.
  • The Real BSmile makes note that the very first night Baseball game in Los Angeles happened on this date in 1930.  It was at old Wrigley Field, and some 25,000 Angelenos attended the game.  Go here to see a vintage photo of the spectacle.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

1982 Union Oil Dodger Player Portraits - The Complete Set

It occurred to me recently that I had never bothered to scan and share this set on this blog - which kind of puzzles me.  After all, it's probably a set most Dodger fans in their late-30's or older remember the most, and in my opinion it is the one set all Dodger collectors should own.  Featured here (finally) are scans of the 1982 Union Oil Dodger Player Portraits featuring artwork by Nicholas Volpe.

As you may know, Volpe had lent his work to the Dodgers for several 1960's portrait photo sets, so this promotional item was meant to reintroduce the artist to the teams newest fans.  Check out my previous post on a couple of those sets here (1962 & 1969).  The set consist of 26 sheets and features a player portrait against a black background.  They measure 8.5" x 11", has a reverse filled with all kinds of biographical information (as seen below) and were distributed by Union 76 gas stations throughout the Southland.  If I remember right, you received a free portrait for every 8 gallon fill-up.  The set is very plentiful in the collectors market, so it shouldn't cost much to purchase.  My price guide indicates $15.00 for the set, but that's from over 10 years ago.  Still, I don't expect it to sell for much more than that today.

As you can see, the set I have has been autographed by every member of the team; including Vin Scully.  As you can imagine, this set is a favorite in my collection.

Below is the rest of the set. Click any pic to embiggen.  Go below the fold to check them all out.

Blog Kiosk: 7/21/2014 - Dodger Links - Sending a Message with a Pitch to the Backside

So, this happened.  This weekends series against the Cardinals was a hit-by-pitch marathon.  Now, I'm not saying it was all purposeful, but some of it was reckless.  As Jerry Hairston Jr. mentioned on twitter, the Cardinals have reputation for hitting batters.  They want to intimidate by throwing up-'n-in, but they need (as Clayton Kershaw said) to have a better idea about where the ball's going. Obviously, that's something they lack.

Kershaw, in retaliation, threw an obvious purpose pitch against the buttocks of Matt Holliday.  He didn't throw anything dangerous.  It wasn't anywhere near the guys face.  The ball had the luxury of landing on the part of the body that would do the least damage, so it didn't hurt.  No x-rays were needed.  The pitch was just a message that their pitchers need to get their ship in order... And, you know what?  I don't have a problem with that.

Maybe it's the hockey fan in me, but I do believe there is a time and place for purpose pitches to get a message across.  This game is such that a reckless play can get someone really hurt, and if a player doesn't stay cognizant of that then I feel it's important for the opposition to remind them.  That's what Kershaw did.  He is just politely reminding them to be more conscious of what they are doing.  If you want to throw up-'n-in then you better have the ability to do so.  Heck, if this was hockey there'd be a few hard checks, a couple slashes to the skate or a fight instead.  So, the Cardinals should feel lucky.

BTW, the photo above is of Matt Holliday jawing with AJ Ellis after being plunked in the rear-end, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.  That baby should just stop whining.  He got off easy.
  • The Cardinals must hate Hanley Ramirez.  What did he ever do to you?  As you likely know Hanley was hit twice by the Cardinals last night; once on his left hand.  He eventually left the game and had x-rays.  LA Times reporter Dylan Hernandez let us know on twitter that they were negative, so he should be ready to play tomorrow against the Pirates.  Hanley had this to say on twitter:

Dodgers ace and two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw had seen enough. It wasn’t that Ramirez was hit by Martinez’s pitch, it was that the pitch just missed Hanley’s head. Reminiscent of the good ol’ Don Drysdale days, Kershaw hit leadoff hitter Matt Holliday “on the wallet”, as Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully would have said if he were calling the game.
  • Via Kim Tae-Jong at Korea Times, "Farewell for Park Chan-Ho."  Park was honored at the Korean Baseball League All-Star Game this weekend.
"I will never forget this graceful moment," Park said on the mound after the ceremonial pitch at the Champion's Field stadium in Gwangju. "Since I retired in 2012, I have dreamed of standing on the mound again, and I have really wanted to pitch again."
Don Mattingly prefers Joc Pederson in center field, but he’s not yet on the active roster. In Pederson’s favor, there’s little doubt that he’s the best defensive option. Some within the organization worry about his minor league strikeout rate, and believe he’ll benefit from further seasoning. If Mattingly gets his way, the Dodgers outfield will become even more crowded, further increasing the likelihood of a trade.
The last act by the former players in attendance was for each to drop a yellow rose at the pitcher's mound, where a large No. 35 had been etched into the dirt. That was Bob Welch's number. The popular starting pitcher died June 9 at age 57.

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    Sunday, July 20, 2014

    Sunday Dodger Videos: Scully Speaks About Apollo 11

    Here are this Sunday's Dodger videos.

    Marking the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the moon watch Vin Scully below recalling the event.

    Video Link:

    Stacie Wheeler at Lasorda's Lair shares a great video on YouTube featuring her visit to the temporary exhibit Baseball! Celebrating Our Great American Pastime at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.  Check out here story about it here.

    Video Link:

    Check out the Dodgers mid-season video highlight film below.

    Video Link:

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    Saturday, July 19, 2014

    Blog Kiosk: 7/19/2014 - Dodger Links - Turner, Kemp and a Tribute Video that Should Have Been

    Justin Turner officiates as a couple of Dodgers wrestle on the field.  Pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

    “I want to be in a situation where I play every day,” he said Friday. “If it’s with the Dodgers, if it’s with someone else, that’s not my decision.

    “I don’t have a no-trade clause. I don’t have any of that. I’m a Dodger. I’m going to play and help them any way I can. I’m blessed that I can wear a jersey and play the game I love to play.”
    Frankly, Kemp is saying all the right things.  If he wasn't saying that he wants to play everyday then I'd think that would be a problem.  The key here is that he understands that regardless the situation he will continue to do what he can to help the team win.
    • Wow!  Check this out.  Topps just made a great poster commemorating the LA Dodgers 1988 Championship team; limited to only 99 copies.  See it on the right.  Go here for information.
    • It's good to be a superstar.  Via Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk, "Tracy McGrady started an All-Star game and then retired from baseball."
    Former seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady has been pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League and last night, in what was apparently a planned move, he started the league’s All-Star game, participated in the Home Run Derby … and then announced his retirement.
    • This is just awesome.  Sully Baseball made the video FOX should have put together in tribute to all the Baseball folks who have recently passed.  Thanks for putting this together Sully.  BTW, he has a great podcast that is worth your time to listen to.  Follow him on twitter here: @sullybaseball

    Video Link:

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    Friday, July 18, 2014

    Paco's Back with the Big Club

    They continue to shuffle their relief staff.  As you may recall, the Dodgers optioned reliever Pedro Baez back to Albuquerque this past Sunday before the All-Star break, so an addition to the Dodgers roster was due prior to their game this afternoon.  That move is to recall left-handed pitcher Paco Rodriguez.

    Per a Dodger press release:
    Rodriguez has gone 2-3 with one save and a 4.56 ERA (13 ER/25.2 IP) in 29 appearances with the Isotopes this year, limiting opponents to a .242 batting average with 34 strikeouts and 14 walks. He made the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster and allowed five runs in 7.0 innings (6.43 ERA) in 10 appearances during two previous stints with Los Angeles this season. The 23-year-old has a 3-5 career record with two saves and a 2.65 ERA in 97 big league games.
    It'll be nice to have another lefty in the bullpen; especially against a Cardinals and Pirates team that sport some good left-handed bats.  Hopefully, Paco can reestablish himself as a key situational lefty who was so important to the team last season.

    Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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    2014 Allen & Ginter Baseball - The Dodger Box Loader Cards

    This promises to be my last post on Topps 2014 Allen & Ginter set.  Go here to check out all of my previous post on this set.  Featured below are the handful of Dodger Box-Loader cards that are available, and they are gorgeous.  They were bonus cards inserted into hobby boxes only.  They measure approximately 4.25" by 6.50". 

    There is a Clayton Kershaw Autographed Relics card (#OBAR-CK) numbered to just 5 copies, but has not yet surfaced.  Also, a couple of Cabinet Relic cards, both "1 of 1's", have yet to be pulled.  They are the:
    • Cabinet Relics card (#/1) of #CR-YP Yasiel Puig
    • Cabinet Book Relics card (#/1) of #CBR-YC Yasiel Puig & Clayton Kershaw
    If I'm not mistaken, the above two cards feature uniform nameplates.

    Box Loader Inserts Set

    #BL-06 Clayton Kershaw

    Box Loader Relics Set (#/25)

    #BLR-AG Adrian Gonzalez                      #BLR-YP Yasiel Puig

    Box Loader Autographs Set (#/15)

    #OBLA-CK Clayton Kershaw

    They also made cabinet sized Box Loader cards of the base cards from the Allen & Ginter set.  So, they are just large sized reprints.  Only 3 Dodgers are a part of this subset.  Just for reference, check them out below.  As you'll notice they are exact replicas of their base card.

    Over-sized Reprints Cabinet Box Loaders Set

    #ORCBL-JR Jackie Robinson

    #ORCBL-SK Sandy Koufax

    #ORCBL-YP Yasiel Puig

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    Dodgers Japanese Memorabilia at Prestige Collectibles Auction

    As you know, Baseball is hugely popular in Japan.  It's a national pastime much in the same way it is here.  Children play it, fans go to games in large numbers and collectors go crazy for memorabilia just like we do.  So, it shouldn't be a surprise that Baseball cards of Japanese ballplayers have been available to collect for many decades.

    For most American collectors these issues are largely unknown, but it is a growing genre.  Fans have started chasing cards of modern Japanese ballplayers like Ichiro, Tanaka and Darvish, and soon vintage cards will be all the rage.

    Featured in this post are a couple of vintage Japanese issues featuring a couple of well known Dodger players currently available at Prestige Collectibles.  This auction house specializes in vintage Japanese Baseball cards.
    (Auction Link)

    Do you recognize the fellow above?

    Did you even know that he played in Japan for a year?

    Shown here is a 1962 JCM 57b Maruya Menko card of Dodger great Don Newcombe and it is very scarce.  According to some estimates only about 10 copies are thought to exist.

    Don Newcombe joined the Chunichi Dragons on May 28, 1962 as a 36-year old 1st baseman and outfielder.  I'll say that again, Newcombe did not sign as a pitcher in Japan; although he did start one game.  Instead, he was a position player.  Considering that he was one of the best hitting pitchers the game has ever seen, this should not be a surprise.  In 81 games he batted .262/.316/.473 with 12 homers, 43 RBI's and 23 doubles in 279 at-bats.  Not too shabby for an old guy, eh?

    Below is a reverse of the card featuring what looks like a grip for a 2-seam fastball.
    (Auction Link)

    I just love this next item.  It looks just like the Jackie Robinson comic released in America in 1950, but photo reversed.  Check out a pic of my American versions here.

    Featured here is a 1950 Jackie Robinson Japanese Edition Comic Book.
    (Auction Link)

    As the auction description states, it was originally distributed as an insert in the June 1950 issue of Chugakusei no Tomo (Middle School Friend) magazine. It has 32 pages within it.  Check out some pics of the pages below.

    One of these days I will scan the pages of the American version for all of you to see and enjoy.  I just need to get off my rear-end and do it.
    (Auction Link)
    (Auction Link)
    (Auction Link)

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    Blog Kiosk: 7/18/2014 - Dodger Links - Matt Kemp, a Couple No-Hitter Pins and Pederson's All-Star Experience

    The Dodgers landed in St. Louis for their series against the Cardinals yesterday afternoon.  Shown above is traveling secretary Scott Akasaki and Juan Uribe in the photo above, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014. BTW, if you're wondering what Scott Akasaki does as the traveling secretary then watch this helpful video.
    • With the silly rumor season about to go into overdrive I think it's important to remember that 99% of all rumors you hear are a load of BS.  You are not hearing any special insight.  You are not getting "Inside Baseball" information.  You are not getting a peek at closely held negotiations.  I would suggest ignoring them all.  THEY MEAN NOTHING!  And, I assure you that most rumors are made up by bored reporters making unfounded assertions from innocent conversations so that they have something to write.
    • Via Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs, "Matt Kemp’s Wish is a Pitching Staff’s Nightmare."  Kemp wants to be an everyday centerfielder, but it seems clear that this isn't likely on the Dodgers.
    Matt Kemp would one day like to return to center field. That’s almost certainly not going to happen in Los Angeles. And one hopes that’s almost certainly not going to happen anywhere else, either. Kemp wasn’t a very good center fielder even before having a major operation, and pretty soon there’s going to be a 3 in front of his age. It’s not even clear he’s a particularly capable corner outfielder, and though his bat remains sufficiently intriguing to justify a trade pursuit, Kemp should probably be traded to a team in the American League that down the road could slot him in at DH. That might not be what Kemp wants, and that might be a future obstacle, but what Kemp wants could drive a pitching staff crazy. What Kemp wants would make his baseball team worse.
    • Meanwhile, Jerry Hairston Jr. had an interesting take on comments made by Kemp's agent that lead to the story above, via a twitter conversation with a fan.

    • Last week, I mentioned that the Dodgers would be giving out commemorative no-hitter pins in September.  Now, Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider has mockups of what they will look like here.  They are definite must haves.  See them below:
    “We’re all excited to share our passion of fantasy football to raise money for some great causes,” said Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis. “I’m looking forward to some good competition and a little trash talk in the Big Blue Fantasy Football League, but like all things I do, I’m playing to win, so bring your “A” game!”
    “I think it was a pretty good experience,” Pederson said. “Any all-star game you go to is a special time. It’s an honor to represent the Isotopes and Dodgers in such an event.”

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